Review by Grace DeMent
- Title:Bone Hollow by Kim Ventrella, 978-1-338-04274-0-Scholastic Press, New York; 2019, $17.99, 226pp.
- Genre: Fiction/Fantasy-Adventure
- Characters: The main character in this novel is Gabe, a 6thgrade boy living in a small southern town. His adventurous spirit leads to his death in the first chapters of the novel. Gabe learns to navigate the afterlife and the learn the secrets of the mysterious place called Bone Hollow. The other lead character in the novel is Gabe’s dog, Ollie. A faithful and true companion, Ollie follows Gabe throughout the novel, always there to lend a paw when Gabe needs it the most. The final main character is Wynne. She is a supernatural being that guides Gabe through his new experiences. She acts as both a friend and mentor for Gabe. She is also the key to figuring out the secrets of Bone Hollow and the unique world that Gabe finds himself in.
- Plot: This story starts out with Gabe attempting to rescue his caretaker’s chicken from the top of a barn. During this rescue mission, a tornado rips through the town, knocking Gabe from the roof and on to a weather vein. When Gabe wakes up, he realizes that only his dog, Ollie, can see or hear him. He eventually falls back asleep, only to awaken inside a morgue. Still unsure of what happened, he and Ollie explore the town, only to find everyone gathered for Gabe’s funeral. However, instead of being helpful, the town is terrified and chase him out into the surrounding forest. Luckily, during the chase, Ollie and Gabe are saved by the mysterious girl Wynne. She takes them to the magical place, Bone Hollow. This is where Wynne informs Gabe that he is “kind of dead, but not really”. He learns that Wynne is called the figure of Death. She oversees helping dying people find comfort in their moments of death and leading them onward. At the end of the novel, it is revealed that Gabe was chosen to replace Wynne as the Death. He is reluctant to take on this role, but in the end, he realizes the importance of Death. He allows Wynne to cross over while he stays in Bone Hollow with his dog, Ollie.
- Touchy areas: This is a fantasy book that deals largely with death. There are both magical elements to the story and scary situations. One of most notable is a moment where Gabe (who is already dead) is running from some towns folk that are trying to kill/beat him. In this scene, the towns folk end up hitting and injuring his dog Ollie.
- Related Titles: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, Tree of Dreamsby Laura Resau
- Movies:Monster House (2006), Coco (2017), ParaNorman(2012) Music:“Monster Mash” -Bobby “Boris” Pickett (1962), “Double Trouble”- John Williams (2004) Poem:“Spirits of the Dead” Edgar Allan Poe Classic Work: Frankensteinby Mary Shelly Art:Death and LifeGustave Klimt
- Evaluation: This book was a fun and exciting read. Since the book begins with Gabe’s death, I was very interested to figure out where the story would take me. Gabe’s narrative is both humorous and heartfelt. The author deals with the topic of death in an amazingly beautiful way. The setting of Bone Hollow is magical instead of scary, and Gabe his able to come to terms with not only his death, but the death of those around him. I think that this book would be an enjoyable, yet insightful read for children in 3rd-7thgrade. 8/10.